A Big Cliffhanger Changes ‘Ghosts’ Without Killing Its Charms

Bertrand Calmeau / CBS
Bertrand Calmeau / CBS
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The second season of CBS’ supernatural sitcom Ghosts ended on a cliffhanger, with one of the apparitions—presumably one of the major series regulars—at Woodstone Manor finally crossing over. For the uninitiated or even just forgetful, ghosts that move on to the afterlife in the world of Ghosts are, in official parlance, “sucked off.” You can rest assured that the first two episodes of the new season do well to make sure every person watching remembers that delightfully juvenile word choice.

A remake of the British comedy of the same name, Ghosts hinges on new homeowner Sam (Rose McIver, who gets the Pregnant Actress Special this season, hiding her baby bump behind big coats, laptops, and comically large boxes) helping the various deceased neurotics occupying her country manor gain closure and move on, with the help of her husband, Jay (Utkarsh Ambudkar). In theory, it’s a good thing to see one of the ghosts finally achieve that goal. But a large part of the charm and comfort of this series has been the consistent ensemble of spectral characters. Wouldn’t sending one of them on affect the entire chemistry or dynamic of the series moving forward? As a living person or a fellow ghost, what do you do when someone gets, ahem, sucked off? How do you move on with your life or afterlife? Those are questions the series hasn’t had to answer until now.

How Did CBS Sitcom ‘Ghosts’ Become One of the Surprisingly Horniest Shows on TV?

Still, three seasons in, it does make sense for the show to shake things up. And with one character’s closure comes the others’ time to grieve, process, and (as you might expect with these ghosts) make things all about themselves. If that sounds like a bummer, we’re still talking about America’s most pleasant comedy. The season premiere has to address the emotional ramifications of the cliffhanger while maintaining the show’s upbeat comedic tone. But that’s a balancing act Ghosts has mastered over its past two seasons, alongside its ability to build off its established mythology and canon. Season 3 features an even more confident mix of heart and humor, along with a fearless willingness to tell new kinds of stories, beginning from the excitingly uncharted territory of the premiere.

Outside of the cliffhanger, Season 3 also sees Jay and Sam embark on their new professional project: While the first two seasons focused on the husband-wife duo getting their bed & breakfast off the ground, this season revolves around Jay’s dream of opening a restaurant on the Woodstone property. McIver and Ambudkar continue to steadfastly steer the Ghosts ship in Season 3, and their consistency—alongside the ensemble’s—ultimately means that no matter how much things might change on Ghosts, there is always a constant at the center.

A photo including Utkarsh Ambudkar as Jay and Rose McIver as Samantha in the series Ghosts on CBS

(L-R): Utkarsh Ambudkar as Jay and Rose McIver as Samantha

Bertrand Calmeau / CBS

Even with the cliffhanger in the ether, the premiere is a standard episode for the series, coming down to Sam having to step in and save the day. But the second episode goes in a completely different direction as it focuses on some new ghostly dynamics. Jay continues to be the odd man out in his own home—he can’t see the ghosts that are so deeply involved in his married life—but this season also continues its work in finding different ways to allow the character to be in on the ghostly fun as well, leading to some new revelations and interesting paths for the series to go down moving forward.

A photo including Utkarsh Ambudkar as Jay and Rose McIver as Samantha in the series Ghosts on CBS

(L-R): Utkarsh Ambudkar as Jay and Rose McIver as Samantha

Bertrand Calmeau / CBS

Season 3 may mark a new chapter for Ghosts, but it’s the same comedy fans fell in love with in the first two seasons. It does feel a little ridiculous to call a show predominantly about dead people “pleasant,” but no other word is more appropriate. Ghosts is so pleasant, in fact, that it manages to make every “sucked off” joke somehow work, no matter how many times it goes to that well. (Really, there’s never too many times when it comes to this show’s characters saying “sucked off.” Again, it is delightfully juvenile.) Even when the comedy is mile-a-minute—which is very much the case this season—Ghosts maintains its pleasant demeanor, appropriate for a series with a B&B setting. Call it the show’s “ghost power,” its greatest strength.

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